Stealing one of the personal blog prompts today from 365 Days of Writing Prompts for Romance Writers . Wow my English teacher in what we’d call in the UK ‘secondary school’ I guess ‘high school’ to the rest of the world, in a nutshell he was a bit of a mess! LOL. I won’t name him, for now I’ll call him Mr. X.
Where did I go to school?
In the depths of south London, Mum actually sent me out of the local area to school. At the time she didn’t feel the standard of education was great in our local area.. It was just a short bus ride away, about no more than thirty to forty five minutes from where we lived. It was a mixed gender school also, generally the school did have a good reputation back then. Lots of parents sent their children there. The only thing was, while the general reputation of the school was good….some classes were unruly! My English class was one of them LOL. Not me personally, when I was in school I behaved well, I was there to learn. I actually really enjoyed this subject, languages and design and technology too this is where I excelled. But my classmates were a hoot, to say the least. It was mainly the boys, we had a group of popular boys who loved to wind up our English teacher. There was also one particular female student who had a big problem with listening and behaving. To me, sitting at my table I just bit my lip and tried not to laugh!
What was your teacher like?
At the time when he taught my class Mr. X must have been in his late thirties to early forties. He was tall, very skinny! Had long, stinging , dirty blond hair, ALWAYS wore black and had bad breath. Thinking about it now all these years later, I bet he was some kind of goth. I left school in ’99 at sixteen, but it never really occurred to me why he may have always wore black.
Anyway, like I said the class was a little troublesome and he spent a lot of his time shouting, mainly at the same students. His favourite line was ‘siiiiiiillllleeeence!’ Then, he’d slam a book or his hand on the desk, *cringe*. Nope, nine times out of ten that did not work, and he ended up splitting up the tables of students. In the end he gave us a seating plan, so certain students couldn’t sit together.
As a teacher, looking back now all these years later was he a good one? No, not really. I say this as I myself after I left school went on to be a high school teacher, and spent ten years in the profession in the classroom. I worked my way up to head of my subject. On reflection compared to what I know now , after teacher training he wasn’t a good one.
Did I learn…? Very little. Partly due to the class behaviour, but when the class was under control even then as I sit here and think, ‘what did I learn from Mr. X?’ I draw a blank!
Was it his fault? Hmmm it’s a hard one. In all honesty, I think he was at that stage of what we call ‘teacher’s burn out’. When a teacher is so jaded about the profession they just collect their pay and that’s it.
Did you get on?
In all honesty, I never really interacted with him much! I was one of the good kids there to learn, I just sat back and watched the ‘show’ every lesson. The battle of wits between him and the unruly kids. Did he ever shout at me? Yes, there were times when I got so bored I would talk, doodle, not really tune into what was going on. You could hardly blame me though if you were a fly on the wall. Did I ever talk back to him? Yeah, a couple of times as in all honesty I was one of the good kids, I felt ‘why are you picking on me!?’ as any teenager would at that time.
So in a nutshell, while English was one of my favourite subjects at school, sadly I never had a very inspirational or even dedicated teacher. It was more ‘crowd control’ at times in my lessons. Which is sad, because yes my grades in English did suffer, generally. And of course he did predict me and a lot of that class with low grades…. did I get a low grade for my GCSE exams? yeah I got a C grade. This is not ‘low’ technically A-C is good, especially back then this was the 90s. But I was capable of so much more.
What happened after school?
Believe it or not, after school when I left I re-studied English. I went to what you could call an ‘online’ community school and sat some extra tests for another English qualification. I came out with a B, now that’s more like it! I didn’t do this right away, I was probably in my early twenties as it was at this point I was searching for work, and what I wanted to do. Employers (at the time) wanted A-C grades in English, okay I had that I got a C but I wanted to re-do it so I did.
Generally I feel on reflection that my English teacher at school had a lot on his plate, but even if the class was golden he was very jaded and job hardened I think, on reflection. Sadly my English teacher did not spark my love for reading or writing, this came myself! Just something I enjoyed with little inspiration from the person who really introduced myself and classmates to it. You can’t win them all I guess! I don’t think I would go back and change things, as in the end it panned out okay. I just hope if Mr. X is still alive if he ever thinks about his time in the classroom, that at some point in his career he can look back and say, ‘I loved that job even if class 7PU were little shits’ LOL.